Health Informatics Alaska
Health Informatics is the field that covers all aspects of data management within a hospital setting. The field combines Information Technology with Healthcare Management in hospital settings. Health Informatics professionals are responsible for the acquisition and recording of patient data, as well as developing data management algorithms and presenting data visually. Additionally, Health Informatics professionals are responsible for all hospital administrative data. Health Informatics or Medical Information Managers in Alaska play an integral part in medical decision-making and the protection of confidential patient data.
Alaska Health Informatics Links
Health Informatics Training in Alaska
The University of Alaska—Southeast offers an Associate’s degree in Health Information Management at their Sitka campus. Accredited by the Commission on Accreditation for Health Informatics and Information Management Education (CAHIIM), the program operates primarily through a distance learning delivery method. Leslie Gordon, RHIA and Director of the program, explains “Our students are scattered all over the state. All our coursework for the degree is online, administered through scheduled web meetings, apart from the 2 week Practicum, or Internship. If a student learns better in a traditional classroom setting, they may take their general requirement courses at their home UAS campus.” Topics of study include data coding, medical billing, the Legal Aspects of the Health Field, and Pathophysiology. Students also study Project Management and Healthcare Management, and all students must participate in an internship as a degree requirement. Upon completion of the degree, students must pass an exam to become professionally certified as Registered Healthcare Information Technicians, or RHIT. This certification is given by the American Health Information Management Association, or AHIMA.
Alaska Health Informatics Jobs
Those who earn an Associate’s degree typically work as Medical Information Technicians. Nationally, Alaska has the second highest concentration of workers in this field, with 2.09 of every 1,000 workers.
The job market in Alaska varies greatly by location. “Right now, our program has 100% job placement,” says Gordon, who is also President Elect of Alaska’s chapter of AHIMA. “However, students may not be able to find work in their home communities.” The job market exists primarily in the areas with greater population density, and Gordon says “Students in Anchorage and Fairbanks typically find jobs immediately, possibly even before graduating.”
Health Informatics Salary -AK
The lowest paid, entry level workers in this position earn $12.90 an hour, or about $26,800 annually. The average wage in Alaska is $18.66 per hour, or approx. $38,800 a year. In the top tenth percentile, experienced workers earn $26.20 an hour, or about $54,400 a year.
As you will see below, students have a number of online health informatics programs to choose from in Alaska. Those that choose to pursue a Bachelor’s degree may opt for the online program in Health Administration with a concentration in Health Information Systems at the University of Phoenix, or a Bachelor’s degree in Health Informatics at Capella University online. Both online schools also offer Master of Science (MS) degrees in Health Information Management. Upon completion of one of these advanced study programs, students are eligible for accreditation through examination as Registered Health Information Administrators, or RHIA. This certification is also given by AHIMA. The RHIA is eligible to work in a wider variety of settings, including legal counsel, education, and government. Certification by the RHIA carries numerous advantages, primarily a greater earning potential and better advancement opportunities. RHIA certified professionals can also take advantage of networking opportunities through AHIMA.
Additional benefits through AHIMA vary by state. The Alaska website features a job board and community forums available exclusively to members . To visit the Alaska AHIMA chapter website, go to www.akhima.org.
Those with a Bachelor’s or Master’s degree in Health Information Management work as Health and Medical Services Managers. In this career, entry-level workers earn $23.66 per hour, or $49,220 a year. The average wage is $35.37 an hour, and about $73,560 annually. Experienced professionals in the top tenth percentile earn $61.74 an hour, or $128,300 a year.
*Salary data: United States Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics, Alaska Department of Labor & Workforce Development